30 August 2007

It is Four Degrees of Monzer al-Kassar time!

Ahhh... where would life be without a little bit of frivolity?

Today's frivolity begins in the semi-headlines of the campaign contributions to Hillary Rodham Clinton by Mr. Norman Hsu. As the WSJ reports, a little house in the valley near San Francisco got put on Mr. Hsu's campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign. But the headlines never tell the story, to say the least... and the fun is buried just a bit further down.

Now, as I promised you the Four Degrees of Monzer al-Kassar game, here are the rules:

1) Take someone in the headlines, in this case Mr. Hsu.

2) Find the connections between him and the well connected Mr. Kassar - these connections may be: Individuals or Companies.

3) See how fast you can winnow the connectivity down so that you can get Mr. Kassar within 4 links of the individual in question. This uses the 'Friend of a Friend' (FOAF) concept.

Now I will, in actuality, leave the Clintons out of this, and check towards the next primary individual in this story, which is not the family owning the house. They appear to be absolutely out of the spotlight on this. No, lets chase down the next most likely individual as mentioned in this paragraph:

Lawrence Barcella, a Washington attorney representing Mr. Hsu, said in a separate email: "You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu's name was Smith or Jones, I don't believe it would be a story." He didn't elaborate.
And Mr. Lawrence Barcella is a key figure, and will be a good fast link out to one company in particular. Which would that be? Time for some history!

Way back in the 1980's there was this scandal going on, and Mr. Barcella would play a key role in it. He would not only be a lawyer for the company, but then, in one of those lovely twists of the rolodex, would then get to work with the man who got him the plea deal! How is THAT for connectivity?

Here is the extract of the Senate repoft on the BCCI scandal (thank you to FAS for keeping such records around!):
BCCI's Lawyers and Lobbyists

In hiring lawyers and lobbyists in the United States to help it deal with its problems, BCCI did not think small. BCCI's cadre of professional help in Washington, D.C. alone included, at various times a former Secretary of Defense (Clark Clifford), former Senators and Congressmen (John Culver and Michael Barnes), former federal prosecutors (Raymond Banoun, Lawrence Barcella and Lawrence Wechsler), and former Federal Reserve attorneys (Baldwin Tuttle and Jerry Hawke).

Still other prominent figures were recruited for BCCI's secretly-held American subsidiary, First American, such as former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Stuart Symington and former Republican Senator from Maryland Charles Mac Mathias, who each sat on First American's board of director.

Other firms consisting of important former officials -- such as Kissinger Associates, then home to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, current Under Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and current National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft -- were recruited by BCCI, but refused to accept BCCI's business following its indictment on drug money laundering charges.

The revolving door between government and the private sector made it possible for BCCI to retain former government officials with intimate knowledge of how the U.S. government operates to aid BCCI's agenda. Ironically, BCCI used these former officials against the agencies they once served as instruments of its violations of U.S. laws and its attempts to slow or stop investigations of its wrongdoing.

Much of the activity of BCCI's lawyers in the United States was normal representation, often extremely aggressive, but within the borders of the kind of work the firms involved did for other clients. At other times, however, lawyers for BCCI participated in decisions to hire private investigators to investigate the private lives of government investigators pursuing BCCI; sought to use "political chits" to shut down Congressional investigations of BCCI; threatened publications considering publishing articles about BCCI with libel suits; and refused to refer BCCI foreign branches to federal law enforcement when BCCI's own employees in the U.S. believed such referrals were legally required because of the degree of the branch's involvement in money laundering.

The most aggressive activity by BCC's lawyers and lobbyists took place at the beginning and at the end of BCCI's

Two periods of activity by BCCI's lawyers in the U.S. illustrate how BCCI accomplished illegal or improper objectives were:

** Assisting BCCI and its nominees in restructuring the takeover attempt of Financial General Bankshares after the initial attempt was stopped by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), on the ground that BCCI had secretly colluded with other shareholders by purchasing 4.9% of the FGB stock each to evade securities laws requiring the reporting of their purchases at 5% or more. Among the key attorneys involved in the restructuring of the BCCI takeover were Clifford, Altman, and former Federal Reserve lawyer Baldwin Tuttle. (1978-1981)

** Structuring the purchase of National Bank of Georgia by First American from BCCI's nominee, Ghaith Pharoan. (1985-1986)

Response to Senate

Joint Defense Agreement
Ah, memories! Going from there right to:
Larry Barcella

Larry Barcella is a former Assistant US Attorney who gained national prominence for his successful prosecution of Edwin Wilson, the American convicted of selling secrets to Lybia. Barcella was brought onto the BCCI case shortly after the October 1988 indictment of BCCI in Tampa, Florida. Larry Wechsler, with whom Barcella had practiced law in the US Justice Department recruited him to coordinate the bank's defense.

Although the full extent of Barcella's activities on behalf of BCCI remains unknown, he did engage in the following:

-- In 1988 Barcella tried to persuade his firm's lead partner, former US Senator Paul Laxalt, meet with Swaleh Naqvi, BCCI's CEO, in London, and to engage in lobbying on behalf of the bank on Capitol Hill. The Subcommittee has been unable to determine what, if any, services Senator Laxalt performed on behalf of BCCI.

-- In 1989 and 1990 Barcella joined John Vardaman, a partner at Williams and Conolly and Robert Altman in warning Larry Gurwin, a freelance journalist writing an article about BCCI and First American Bank for Regardie's magazine, that it would be improper to write anything that linked the two institutions. Barcella has called Gurwin's allegations "absurd".(1)

- In early 1990, after BCCI pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in Tampa, Florida, several members of the US Congress criticized the plea bargain as to lenient on the bank. Documents obtained by the Subcommittee show that Barcella met with Senator Dennis Deconcini, one of the critics of the plea bargain, in an effort to persuade him that BCCI was not the corrupt institution that he and others had claimed.

Most recently, of course, Barcella has been hired by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to investigate the "October Surprise", the allegations surrounding a political deal for release of the US hostages held in Iran in 1980. On leave from the Justice Department to assist Barcella in his investigation is Greg Kehoe -- the Justice Department official with whom BCCI lawyers, including Barcella, negotiated the bank's plea agreement in Tampa.
Yes, going from representing BCCI to working with the guy that got you the plea agreement. Lovely how quickly these folks do things in DC, isn't it?

And from BCCI you go directly to Monzer al-Kassar, who used it as a way to launder money from his drug trade and arms deals. From the Globalsecurity.org document cache on BCCI:
4. BCCI's relationships with convicted Iraqi arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian, Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar, and other major arms dealers. Sarkenalian was a principal seller of arms to Iraq. Monzer Al-Kassar has been implicated in terrorist bombings in connection with terrorist organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Other arms dealers, including some who provided machine guns and trained Medellin cartel death squads, also used BCCI. Tracing their assets through the bank would likely lead to important information concerning international terrorist and arms trafficker networks.

5. The use of BCCI by central figures in arms sales to Iran during the 1980's. The late Cyrus Hashemi, a key figure in allegations concerning an alleged deal involving the return of U.S. hostages from Iran in 1980, banked at BCCI London. His records have been withheld from disclosure to the Subcommittee by a British judge. Their release might aid in reaching judgments concerning Hashemi's activities in 1980, with the CIA under President Carter and allegedly with William Casey.

6. BCCI's activities with the Central Bank of Syria and with the Foreign Trade Mission of the Soviet Union in London. BCCI was used by both the Syrian and Soviet governments in the period in which each was involved in supporting activities hostile to the United States. Obtaining the records of those financial transactions would be critical to understanding what the Soviet Union under Brezhnev, Chernenko, and Andropov was doing in the West; and might document the nature and extent of Syria's support for international terrorism.
Hey, real lucky that Mr. Barcella WORKED for the bank involved in the Arms for Hostages deal, isn't it?

Really, I am quite sure Mr. Hsu had absolutely *no* idea of what he was doing and that it was *all* just a minor transcription error while bundling boodles of checks together! Too bad BCCI isn't around any more to help on that... perhaps Mr. Barcella can help him there....

There you go: Hsu to Barcella to BCCI to Kassar. That is only three degrees, so it is better luck next time in the connected world of the rich and infamous.

29 August 2007

A look at the interview between Hugh Hewitt and Thomas P.M. Barnett

I have previously reviewed the concepts Mr. Barnett has outlined in his interviews with Mr. Hewitt in previous posts: Grand strategy and force structure, Why the US does not have constabulary forces, Some thoughts on another interview, and some final thoughts on another interview. In overview I find Mr. Barnett's views of a tripartite world not descriptive of the modern world and not addressing the problems of it. In extreme particular he has been unwilling to address non-Nation State actors and our inability to address them through traditional means of diplomacy, Nation State activities as practiced in the post-WWII era, or via the form of 'realist' diplomacy that has encouraged the growth and legitimacy of such groups. This is not just terrorism, although it is a main problem, but also the host of Non-Governmental Organizations that have their own agendas that are tied to no Nation State, and yet they fund their ideologies and beliefs of various sorts by donations and even get hearings in Nation to Nation endeavors. Thus I come to his most recent interview with Mr. Hewitt in which he puts forth that leaving Iraq and causing bloodshed now is preferable to leaving it later.

Of the things he puts forth is that Iraq is heading to a 'soft partition' and a Free Kurdistan that will be weakly, if at all, tied to Iraq. This is the previous 'partition of Iraq' concept pushed by many that has neglected to examine if Iraqis do, indeed, wish to be 'partitioned' in any form. By putting forth that the Kurds, who had been protected for over a decade by the US from Saddam is due to be independent from it is something of a strange surprise. Kurds, contrary to belief, have been full participants in the Iraqi Army and Police and in helping their neighbors stand up capability over time. They have that capability via two main routes: culturally, Kurds are extremely competent in the martial realm and have a strong ethnic affiliation, and, secondly they had over a decade to stand up decent capability with US help. Mind you that was only for something like 5-6 million people over 12 years to get them to that point before the start of OIF, a mere nothing in this realm of tripartite world views. That Iraq, with wider religious and ethnic diversity, and having the remainder 18 million or so Iraqis would be able to do similar, given the extent of the size of Iraq as compared to the Kurdish regions is difficult to understand for the time frame involved.

Now, just as a side-light, when Mr. Barnett brings up the division of Kurdistan at the behest of Ataturk, at that the US will 'have to do something similar', there is one element of that equation that he has forgotten: the Kurds. The Kurdish view towards that division by Ataturk and with the agreement of the European powers is one that lasts to this day, and strongly so. Promised a homeland that would be free by the victorious powers, within a few short years that was sub-divided by Turkey and the Europeans, and that is considered to be betrayal by the Kurds. The US, not having done much of anything against the Ottomans and having no real ability to stand against that, is seen as being relatively neutral. Under President Wilson the US had 'talked a good game' but did not 'put its money where its mouth was', and so the grandiose ideas of President Wilson had no chance to come close to reality as he had not paid the price of admission in the Med. And the Kurds also remember *that*, too, and only more than a decade of direct help and support has helped to erase some of that neutrality and turn it into friendship. I can give a good guess as to how the Kurds would feel about writing off their brothers a *second time* with the boot of the US there to do so. But that is looking at the Kurds as a People who have a history and don't really see themselves in a first or third world or a gap between them, but as a proud and distinguished People who have long, long memories of the things done to them. Now if Mr. Barnett had said that the US was going to *liberate* all the Kurds from surrounding Nations, he might have something, but writing them off AGAIN?

Perhaps the goal is to be hated by all the peoples of the Middle East? That would be a grand start! The Kurds feel they have given 'a half-loaf' so often that they are down to only what they can survive on, and they happen to recognize that as a land-locked Nation with no easy access to the sea for trade, that they are at the mercy of their neighbors. Turkey has been none-too-willing to recognize Kurdish culture, ethnicity or even its language, and that enmity pre-dates the PKK. Going back on our word to the Kurds NOW will change their attitude from friendliness, and the 'Ameriki' tribe, to one of bitterness and disgust with us. They *still* feel that way towards the Turks, France and Britain.

After the partition concept Mr. Barnett then looks at the war against al Qaeda. He does point to the success of the surge and the part of the tribes. The tribes that *support* the government now after hard diplomatic and military work was done to win them over. One of the less reported things on the Arab Sunni side of things is the state of places like Fallujah and other areas that, while being pro-Saddam, they were not of his tribal area nor exact ethnicity. In point of fact that area was ungovernable all during Saddam's reign, although he was able to *rule* by the gun, bloodshed and causing factional fights. Even further, there are accounts dating back to the 1930's that Fallujah and environs was lawless. The deep shock was that the people there now trusted the Iraqi Army more than their regional neighbors. Their society had been so beaten down that the first thing the folks wanted rebuilt was not: schools, roads, bridges, sewage plants, electrical sub-stations.... No, the very first thing to be rebuilt was the fortified family compounds around their homes. That is a mosaic view of Iraq that is hard for a tripartite view of the world to actually come to terms with. Iraq was a heavily factionalized Nation, just like its Arab neighbors, and ruled over by Empires and dictators for so long that having a quiet, civil life was impossible. To get such people to actually trust any level of government is damned amazing. To do that in four years is a miracle.

Another vector from Anbar that Mr. Barnett doesn't address flows directly from the above: the political side. Bill Roggio has done wonderful work following the movement of the Anbar tribes from loose association to strong affiliation to political movement that is now called: "Iraq Awakening". Even more fascinating is the form of it, which is localized in concept, but learning to work outwards and upwards for building coalitions and driving the killers out. While the Sunni Arabs have always talked about their societal superiority to the Shia Arabs, the US has basically done one thing to them and asked them to prove it: be better than anyone else in Iraq.

While never stated as such, the harsh view that the Iraqi Army being predominantly Shia, being capable enough to help Sunni Arabs get on their feet has been a tremendous cultural shock to them. Here are people that they have disdained for centuries suddenly proving themselves to be competent, capable and reaching out to help them. "Iraq Awakening" is a reflection of this and it has taken a position of non-sectarian politics with a strong bent towards technocrats. People willing to get things *done* and build society. "Iraq Awakening" now stretches out all the way to the Kurdish provinces, and northwards, and is also moving into the Baghdad region. Localized governmental control with a hard view on getting things running, having an open hand to those willing to help and giving no room for those seeking to kill. That doesn't sound too much like a partitional group to me...

From there Mr. Barnett turns to the Sunni/Shia violence that is still going on due to the British mismanagement of standing up local government, and the entrenchment of some al Qaeda groups in and around Baghdad. Here he compares the problem to a reverse of Bosnia and that the two sides are nowhere near at the end of their cycle of killing. And as that is the sole basis on which the US will be judged, we will be forced to pull back to the Kurds and Kuwait and to leave the Sunni population to drift in the wind after telling them we would help them integrate with the rest of Iraq to help end the cycle of violence. This cycle has been largely fueled by outside cash, arms and personnel: al Qaeda first from Saudi Arabia, but now receiving some logistic aid via Syria, and the Iranians who have backed Sadr and the 'Special Groups' who were once the 'Badr Brigades'. That flow of arms and personnel has been through the highly corrupt government that the British have let grow up there since the invasion. Mind you the British were *applauded* by many foreign policy experts as this was 'the way to do it'. We now see what this lovely way to do things gets you: fanatical outsiders flowing in with deadly arms to try and start up a civil war and overthrow that Nation.

And if we leave that is exactly and precisely what will happen, save that al Qaeda will return, again, with lots more money, claim victory against the 'weak Americans' and the Iranians will also claim victory against 'the Great Satan' and the Kurds will detest us for going back on our word to them. Well, we will have Kuwait for a bit, until Iran can surround it completely and start waves of terror attacks there... then, of course, Kuwait will be the 'next quagmire' and best to run from that... and we can't really keep the Kurds supplied and the Turks can pressure them via the only half-way decent supply route once Iran and Syria cement an overland link to really get their nuclear capabilities going. Don't mind the few million dead in the few years after that, the fall of Kuwait, Jordan, and then al Qaeda really feeling its oats and going after the Saudis directly. And Iran supplying more arms to Afghani rebels and rebels in the lower 'stans. Because their main money sink has been: Hezbollah and fighting the US in Iraq. Give them control of the lower oil fields and pipelines and the money they will have to spend will double if not triple within months. They might even start ramping up the money going to Bosnia and their organization in the Tri-Border Area of S. America could use some beefing up... not to speak of what al Qaeda will do. And don't mind the Iranians having involvement in Turkish politics and their ability to greatly increase *that* as well.

I thought this was going to work out so well!

You see Iran is not what we would like to think of as a 'normal Nation State'. It is a 'rogue regime' that has a fanatical basis and doesn't pay much attention to economics, as seen by their inability to keep their petro system going and now not even being able to pay their public service folks for six months. If the US withdraws *that* disappears, they will be seen as *winners* and will then push to expand the fight. That is what revolutionary regimes do when they confront an opponent that backs down to them. Hell, even simple dictators DO THAT. Osama bin Laden did and will use any pull out and descent in to chaos as the 'virtuous jihadis driving the crusading infidels out', or similar words from whoever the leader of aQ is these days. And you know something: they will be *right*.

Throughout Mr. Barnett's view of the world, playing Iran against Saudi Arabia and thinking that there will be some 'accommodation' there, and that the US can just leave after what we have done, through all of that there are three words missing from his vocabulary and his ability to describe things the US would want to see happen in the Middle East. Very simple words that do not often appear from the foreign policy 'greats' and those 'geostrategic thinkers' of the 'realist' school of thought. Those folks talk a lot about economic security and peace as a way to get that, but that sort of peace can be the 'peace of the bribed' or 'peace of the coerced' or 'peace of the dead'. No these three words guide the US and really should be foundational to our view of the world, and how we approach rebuilding Nations after war and confronting tyrants and dictators of all stripes.

I can find only one mentioned and it is in the defensive analysis, not the offensive, and that tells me that Mr. Barnett has given up on them completely.

The words?

Anyone reading here for a bit will know them well:




These are not the words of DIME, but then that does not pay the toll now, does it?

Apparently Mr. Barnett prefers not fighting for human liberty, freedom and getting folks to interact so as to have a say in their own affairs. Far better for these funny folks in a far off land to just kill each other in their millions and not interrupt the nap of the US while we ponder 'gaps' and 'how to bridge them'.

While our enemies ask: How can we make the world OURS?

When fighting to remove a tyrant the responsibility is to help those that have suffered under such despotic rule to stand up on their own, work out their differences, defend themselves and find a way to government that will not easily repress them again. A government accountable to other Nations and to its people. To run from that to 'get the killing over with' will mean we will have run from those ideals and tyranny will prosper in our absence because we are unwilling to support it. And once that happens abroad, it will come here because we have proven incapable of sustaining the gift handed to us and understanding its importance.

The killing will stop.

Once tyranny wins.

This is not a fight of statistics, death tolls or economic capacity. It is a contest of wills. Leave now and there will be no turning back to Iraq again, because the war will spread and that era before Westphalia will return in all its horror. And that will not be quick at all as those wars were measured in decades. And all that it takes is a commitment to three ideals and nourishing the great tree of liberty with blood of tyrants and patriots.

That is the cost we now teach Iraqis, and they are paying it. They need our help to finally end the reign of killers.

Do we mean what we say as a Nation and culture about our fine ideals?

Or are they to be bartered away because our fight is just too much for us? After America paid with 10% of its population dead after the Revolution... run now and we do not deserve to *be* free, because we have lost the meaning of freedom to a weak stomach and will have given up on those things Americans have died for in plenitude. In the millions. Quite a down payment to walk out on.

Do as you say.
Say what you mean.
Mean what you do.

27 August 2007

Piracy, terrorism and the wider view

The argument I am making to treat terrorism as piracy is not new, and thank you to Eagle for sending me a couple of links! One is to an article by Douglas R. Burgess Jr at Legal Affairs Magazine (July/August 2005): The Dread Pirate Bin Laden. I read that with interest as it goes through legal processes in an attempt to dig up and create a framework for prosecuting terrorism. He cites the problem the UN is having with creating such a thing, due to the political problems of Nations and 'terrorism'. From there he moves a bit further on to start digging into piracy and the framework around it. Later in Legal Affairs Magazine would be a debate between Michael Byers and Mr. Burgess on this: Can laws against piracy help stop terrorism?

With that I will try to present a wider view of piracy, civil law, military law and this last law that remains unaddressed: the law of nations.

In Mr. Burgess' article, he traces the movement of piracy as a concept from ancient times and its re-emergence after the fall of the Empire. By the 16th and 17th century piracy had returned along with trade, and so had the concept of 'privateers', which gave sanction to owned ships by merchants to be outfitted with war making ability to combat pirates. Under National sanction, flying the colors of that Nation, privateering allowed for Nations to engage each other on the high seas not only to combat pirates, but to be an auxiliary of the Navy of the Nation involved.

Now I will digress from the analysis of the article, some, to give some background. This concept of warfare is still enshrined in the US Constitution under the Letters of Marque and Reprisal language for Congressional war making capability and in the US Code giving the President a procedure to call upon Privateers to respond to National needs. The United States has a very different view of these things that cannot, ever, be wished away by treaty: these are specific powers granted to government by the People and only the People may amend the US Constitution. The US cannot sign onto anything that would limit its privateer power granted to the government, save to regularize them. For the US this means that piracy has a view to it that does not rapidly evolve, and that the ability to deem individuals and organizations as acting as pirates is one of the few things that has been stable on the landscape since the founding. Privateers act under US legal sanction, fly colors and are accountable to the Nation for their actions. Pirates are out for their own purposes, without sanction and unwarranted.

Thus when Mr. Burgess makes the statement of the 1856 Treaty of Paris outlawing privateers, which it did, even with signing it the US must consider those sections regarding privateers to be ineffectual and null. The US has established rules for this, from time to time, and the last time that privateers were used was in the US Civil War, and since then we have told most Nations we go to war with that we will not be using privateers against them. That is courtesy, not mandate.

His course of the evolution of piracy is good founding for it, but the depth of humanity's detesting of them really could be expanded a bit. From there, however, he shifts to National domestic laws and out of the law of nations concept, which looks not only at the domestic portion of piracy, but the overarching sovereignty of individual nations to conduct affairs in agreed-upon orderly fashion. To me the citing of the terrorist aspects of Blackbeard and other individuals is interesting, but not to the point: these organizations, which ships are, were acting as independent sovereigns to wage war for their own gain or purposes. Civil law must take that into account, but the waging of war via utilization of war like means (in the old days with 'wooden ships and iron men') meant that such organizations had no law over them. They had, literally, stepped away from the civilized law of nations and put themselves outside the law. It is not the form of the attack(s), or the view towards creating terror, it is the utilization of war outside the strictures of the nation state that is the crime.

Now, Mr. Burgess comes back to this, with this lovely paragraph:

TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF DEFINING TERRORISM as a species of piracy, consider the words of the 16th-century jurist Alberico Gentili's De jure belli: "Pirates are common enemies, and they are attacked with impunity by all, because they are without the pale of the law. They are scorners of the law of nations; hence they find no protection in that law." Gentili, and many people who came after him, recognized piracy as a threat, not merely to the state but to the idea of statehood itself. All states were equally obligated to stamp out this menace, whether or not they had been a victim of piracy. This was codified explicitly in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, and it has been reiterated as a guiding principle of piracy law ever since. Ironically, it is the very effectiveness of this criminalization that has marginalized piracy and made it seem an arcane and almost romantic offense. Pirates no longer terrorize the seas because a concerted effort among the European states in the 19th century almost eradicated them. It is just such a concerted effort that all states must now undertake against terrorists, until the crime of terrorism becomes as remote and obsolete as piracy.
That codified effort did work wonders during the 19th century and drove piracy to the further reaches of Africa, Asia and other places also remote from the easy reach of the Naval forces in those days. The US could not sign the treaty, but did work to remove piracy from the seas in accordance with other Nations. That old fashioned form of high seas piracy still exists in those places, to this day, and there are reports of smaller forms of it returning in the Caribbean. For the most part these are true independent actors out for their own gain in the old fashioned way of robbery on the high seas.

  • Before heading into the international aspects of this and yet more civil law, it is time to backtrack to earlier days of warfare and forces on land that operated in ways like this. One can start with the bandit army raised by Josephus against Rome in 66-73 AD and identify it as such and the Roman attitude towards such a thing. Mind you Josephus *did* switch sides, so the history may be a bit shaky, but the concept was quite clear: bringing down an army that was fanatically inspired by their religion. Still called a 'bandit army' however.

  • Henry Morgan was a privateer but became a designated pirate after a land attack on panama, in 1671, that violated the peace that existed between England and Spain. Yes, one of the best known pirates became that way by waging illegal war on his own. He did have no knowledge of the treaty, however, and *proved* that and had the label of pirate removed. That is the aspect of where the civil law, under the Admiralty Court, plays a role: to determine *if* an individual had *reason* under lawful war to do the acts that he did.

  • And while someone like Grace O'Malley could be seen as fighting for independence, the form of that by having no Nation nor government backing her did make her an "enemy of England". A freedom fighter that would not put herself to the accountability of standing up something better, and so fought a private war against England, something that was not appreciated in the 16th century.

  • Some mention should also go to Bartholomew Roberts or "Black Bart" as he was later known, who's first act as a pirate was not for booty, as such, but to revenge himself upon the Principe of Princes Island. While ships and treasure were his long term aim, being on land or sea to work his ways did not matter much to Roberts, who would ensure that his honor and that of his ships was kept, all the way to the end of his life.

  • Moving to the 1850's we find the bandit army of Joaquin Murrieta in California, and his gang The Five Joaquins were hunted down and killed in 1853, with trophies being taken from the bodies of the leaders in the way of a hand and a head. That would be absolutely uncivilized for treatment of those not obeying civil law, although far more in accord with military justice of that era. Indeed the list of worldwide banditti is a long one, with various types and outlooks from mere criminal robbers to individuals on the run from the law to those opposing the law.

  • Even more recently one of the first paratroop drops conducted by the USSR in 1929 was against a 'bandit army' or anti-communist army in 1929 as described in Peter Harclerode in Wings of War, and by the designers of a Play by Email game Fire in the East. The use of regular military against roving arms of bandits is not unknown in history, and this would be the first use of, yes, paratroops against such. Yes, roving bandits in the 20th century!
The characterizations, of course, are mine, and I am not so much 'picking and choosing' but looking at an array of similar activities that have been defined as 'outlaw' and 'piracy' and 'banditry'. That is what this is about: how these individuals did their work and their methodology. The 'how' would not matter if on land or sea and was adaptable to both: it is warfare. Their methodology would vary by aims, taking castles from Chinese highlands or raiding sloops and treasure ships in the Caribbean or riding out against those that would use the law to stop you, no matter what your deeds were. 'Terrorism' was a means to work an end, not an end in and of itself. These modern day 'terrorists' use their means to work many ends, be it Islamic Jihadism to narcotics trafficking to communist insurgency. What matters is that they hold themselves accountable to no law and consider themselves to be a separate law unto themselves.

These have been characterized by others before the modern times, and as the United States was born before the modern times and rests upon these things and grew up with their understanding, the basis for addressing them fall into how they were addressed and what, if any, treaties and obligations regularize these things. Do note that treaties can only allow the US Congress to regularize upon established points and none of those may contravene the Constitution which is the basis for the Nation. Only the People can do that, not a treaty.

For this the immediate precedent is Blackstone's Commentaries, in particular from Book 4, Chapter 5 on pp. 72-74, published 1765-9:
III. LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high feas, is an offence againft the univerfal law of fociety ; a pirate being, according to fir Edward Coke k, boftis humani generis. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of fociety and government, and has reduced himfelf afrefh to the favage ftate of nature, by declaring war againft all mankind, all mankind muft declare war againft him : fo that every community hath a right, by the rule of felf-defence, to inflict that punifhment upon him, which every individual would in a ftate of nature have been otherwife entitled to do, any invafion of his perfon or perfonal property.

BY the antient common law, piracy, if committed by a fubject, was held to be a fpecies of treafon, being contrary to his natural allegiance ; and by an alien to be felony only : but now, fince tha ftatute of treafons, 25 Edw. III. c.2. it is held to be only felony in a fubject l. Formerly it was only cognizable by the admiralty courts, which proceed by the rule of the civil law m. But, it being inconfiftent with the liberties of the nation, that any man's life fhould be taken away, unlefs by the judgment of his peers, or the common law of the land, the ftatute 28 Hen.VIII. c.15. eftablifhed a new jurifdiction for this purpofe ; which proceeds according to the courfe of the common law, and of which we fhall fay more hereafter.

THE offence of piracy, by common law, confifts in committing thofe act of robbery and depredation upon the high feas, which, if committed upon land, would have amounted to felony there n. as, by ftatute 11&12 W.III.c.7. if any natural born fubjeft commits any act of hoftility upon the high feas, againft others of his majefty's fubjefts, under colour of a commiffion from any foreign power ; this, though it would only be an act of war in an alien, fhall be conftrued piracy in a fubject. And farther, any commander, or other feafaring perfon, betraying his truft, and running away with any fhip, boat, ordnance, ammunition, or goods ; or yielding them up voluntarily to a pirate ; or confpiring to do thefe acts ; or any perfon confing the commander of a veffel, to hinder him from fighting in defence his fhip, or to caufe a revolt on board ; fhall, for each of thefe offences, be adjudged a pirate, felon, and robber, and fhall fuffer death, whether he be principal or acceffory. By the ftatute 8 Geo. I. c.24. the trading with known pirates, or furnifhing them with ftores or ammunition, or fitting out any veffel for that purpofe, or in any wife confulting, combining, confederating, or correfponding with them ; or the forcibly boarding any merchant veffel, though without feifing or carrying her off, and deftroying or throwing any of the goods overboard ; fhall be keemed piracy : and all acceffories to piracy, are declared to be principal pirates, and felons without benefit of clergy. By the fame ftyatutes alfo, (to encourage the defence of merchant veffels againft pirates) the commanders or feamen qounded, and the widows of fuch feamen as are flain, in any piratical engagement, fhall be entitled to a bounty, to be divided among them, not exceeding one fiftieth part of the value of the cargo on board : and fuch wounded feamen fhall entitled to the penfion of Greenwich hofpital ; which no other feamen are, except only fuch as have ferved in a fhip of war. And if the commander fhall behave cowardly, by not defending the fhip, if fhe carries guns or arms, or fhall difcharge the mariners from fighting, fo that the fhip falls into the hands of pirates, fuch commander fhall forfeit all his wages, and fuffer fix months imprifonment.
This is under the chapter "Of the law of nations" and this is offense #3 that is commonly noted as being against the law of nations. Blackstone is succinct that anything that would be an act of war in a subject of a Nation is, when done without warrant or National backing, piracy. The United States was fully cognizant of this, and had Vice Admiralty Courts in some of the colonies (the Massachusetts colony, as an example), so when the Revolution came, the idea of having such a concept embedded in the new Nation would have been present. Indeed, in the long list of the bill of particulars of the Declaration of Independence, there are some items dealing with the laws of the sea and the laws of nations:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
And this was followed up with:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
As part of that long list were things that established Nations did in the Admiralty realm that were being neglected or even transgressed against the People of the colonies. The Crown was going *against* the laws of the high seas as it existed, and was seen as illegitimate for that. By not hearing the pleas of subjects, by ruling without regard to established law and by going against the most basic sea rights of the colonies and even suspending or abolishing established courts, the Crown was seen, itself, as violating its compacts with its colonies. Further, the Crown then waged illegitimate war on its subjects, attacked coastlines and shipping and impressed individuals to fight against their own people in the colonies.

This was seen as unlawful under common law and even under the basics of the law of nations: not only was the Crown waging war and transgressing against its own people, but by doing so without giving them any ability to be heard in parliament. This was seen as illegitimate warfare to suppress the colonies and they revolted. The Declaration of Independence serves as a touchstone of what, to the US, is and is not legitimate in the way of the use of force by a sovereign power over its own people when said people are would normally have rights of redress via the courts and legislature. George III had gone piratical against the colonies at sea and on land and waged illegitimate war because he refused to uphold his own laws to hear grievances and have parliament address them. That was an act of an outlaw, stepping beyond the law. A Sovereign Nation may do that to enemy Nations, once declared, but to do that to one's own people when they have right of redress that is suspended from them is not legitimate.

Yes, the US is founded in a fight against an illegitimate war against its own people. That *was* what it was about about and it was war not waged for booty or personal gain, but as an act to suppress subjects of a Sovereign who was abusing said subjects and not giving them the rights that had been given mandate by the Magna Carta, and following laws, and by the concept of the Westphalian Nation State. (also text of Magna Carta here)

To run the Revolution and the Nation immediately after the Revolutionary War, the Articles of Confederation were established. This document was a relatively loose framework between the States so as to allow each to be Sovereign and yet have Confederated powers between them. One of these was addressing piracy:

The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article -- of sending and receiving ambassadors -- entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever -- of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated -- of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace -- appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies commited on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.
Here the Congress reserves for itself the right of creating the courts that will oversee all the interactions of the States with foreign powers, and will include determinations on piracy. The United States was not born into the modern era of grand Nation State warfare, but into the rough and tumble of those waging war on land and sea that are no Nation. The Letters language, here, indicates that such in time of peace is only done by Congress, and that all felonies on the high seas is amenable only to the courts set by Congress for the Confederation. That said, as each State is a true Sovereign, they also get their territorial or near sea jurisdiction, but it must conform with Confederal laws in that realm. This era of the 'prize capture' was one when smaller Nations often could not raise or keep a Navy and depended upon their merchantmen for defense. By outfitting merchant ships with arms, the Nation could be defended and the right to captured material and goods was a form of payment done, usually via auction. The system of Prize Courts is one in which acts of war and piracy are determined and the legitimacy of prizes is sustained when merchantmen fight for their Nation. Also note that this system of warfare is NOT limited to the seas and that captures on land or 'reprisals' against Nations at war or against those waging illegitimate war are fully upheld.

Prize Courts are of the Admiralty Jurisdiction, but civil in Nature, but often had naval officers or tribunals to determine the state of the law. A 'rough and ready' era of warfare and civil law, to be sure, and as later treaties would outlaw the use of privateers and codify everything to military jurisdiction, most of the piracy laws would fall, by default in the US and UK, into the civil realm. As it was civilian control of the military, so it was civilian control over the courts overseeing the Admiralty jurisdiction. And it is a separate jurisdiction *within* our current federal law, even though it falls under the US Code, and is heard by the Federal Courts. The reason this was done in the Articles of Confederation is that there was no Executive to serve as Head of State for the Confederacy: Congress had EVERYTHING that concerned the overall operation of the Confederacy under its power. That was the operation of the Confederation, which would give the States great say, except over all things foreign which was held as a common cause amongst them.

In the US the first Congress with the Judiciary Act of 1789 would further that, to remove any Naval input into the procedure, with this:
SEC . 9. And be it further enacted, That the district courts shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several States, cognizance of all crimes and offences that shall be cognizable under the authority of the United States, committed within their respective districts, or upon the high seas; where no other punishment than whipping, not exceeding thirty stripes, a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, is to be inflicted; and shall also have exclusive original cognizance of all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, including all seizures under laws of impost, navigation or trade of the United States, where the seizures are made, on waters which are navigable from the sea by vessels of ten or more tons burthen, within their respective districts as well as upon the high seas; saving to suitors, in all cases, the right of a common law remedy, where the common law is competent to give it; and shall also have exclusive original cognizance of all seizures on land, or other waters than as aforesaid, made, and of all suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred, under the laws of the United States. And shall also have cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the several States, or the circuit courts, as the case may be, of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. And shall also have cognizance, concurrent as last mentioned, of all suits at common law where the United States sue, and the matter in dispute amounts, exclusive of costs, to the sum or value of one hundred dollars. And shall also have jurisdiction exclusively of the courts of the several States, of all suits against consuls or vice-consuls, except for offences above the description aforesaid. And the trial of issues in fact, in the district courts, in all causes except civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, shall be by jury.


SEC . 19. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of circuit courts, in causes in equity and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, to cause the facts on which they found their sentence or decree, fully to appear upon the record either from the pleadings and decree itself, or a state of the case agreed by the parties, or their counsel, or if they disagree by a stating of the case by the court.

SEC . 21. And be it further enacted, That from final decrees in a district court in causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of three hundred dollars, exclusive of costs, an appeal shall be allowed to the next circuit court, to be held in such district. Provided nevertheless, That all such appeals from final decrees as aforesaid, from the district court of Maine, shall be made to the circuit court, next to be holden after each appeal in the district of Massachusetts.


SEC . 32. And be it further enacted, That no summons, writ, declaration, return, process, judgment, or other proceedings in civil causes in any of the courts of the United States, shall be abated, arrested, quashed or reversed, for any defect or want of form, but the said courts respectively shall proceed and give judgment according as the right of the cause and matter in law shall appear unto them, without regarding any imperfections, defects, or want of form in such writ, declaration, or other pleading, return, process, judgment, or course of proceeding whatsoever, except those only in cases of demurrer, which the party demurring shall specially sit down and express together with his demurrer as the cause thereof. And the said courts respectively shall and may, by virtue of this act, from time to time, amend all and every such imperfections, defects and wants of form, other than those only which the party demurring shall express as aforesaid, and may at any time permit either of the parties to amend any defect in the process or pleadings, upon such conditions as the said courts respectively shall in their discretion, and by their rules prescribe.

Do note, however, that in admiralty and maritime jurisdictions trial by jury is not necessary. I do love those minimums that are allowed for others to decide upon! 30 lashes, $100 fine or 6 months or less imprisonment! Those were the days of real maritime jurisdiction. It is here that the Federal Courts get the law of nations jurisdiction from, also. That was more than reasonable at the time, as most of the admiralty and maritime cases, even then, dealt with navigation, safety and contracted payments. That remains the case to this day.

Part of the modern day haziness on piracy is due to this era of warfare, before the modern, having captures of prizes serving as payment to merchantmen and other companies serving under the banner of the Nation. There is a linkage between these things, but they are NOT concurrent: the activity of waging war illegitimately is, separately, seen as an offense against the law of nations. The activity of taking prizes for auction, as part of that era of warfare, comes UNDER the heading of it and when done illegitimately then falls under that broader concept of wars waged against the law of nations. The heading of that is given many names, but piracy has stuck the hardest in the mind due to a certain romance of those casting off all connections with civilization and then preying upon civilization for sustainment.

The law of nations did proceed as a concept from the founding of the United States, and as a full Sovereign Nation, we had input to that outlook. One of the writers of that era was Monsieur Vattel who would dedicate a series of books to defining the law of nations and giving voice to the common framework of the nation state system. Book III, in particular, deals with the pointy end of State to State conduct, and would seek to give deeper outlook into what is and is not allowable under that system of the law of nations. The following is from paragraph 67:
Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.
Again, the declaration is precedential in typification: legitimate warfare is taken up by Nations while predatory wars are taken up by groups and individuals with no lawful backing. This is a hard and fast distinction between what is and is not seen as lawful by the law of nations, and without any Nation State backing, warfare is illegitimate. This is extended in paragraph 68:
In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.
The actual things that Nations may do to those waging illegitimate warfare is to treat them as robbers, which on the battlefield was due some of the harshest penalties including summary execution. Here the concept of 'depredation' is used to characterize this unlawful warfare and that piracy falls into the category of 'predatory warfare', which also includes bandits and such behavior. As this goes against the law of nations and, indeed, is a threat to all nations, 'predatory warfare' is a scourge of mankind as it seeks to bring down civilization by holding to no strictures of the nation state concept.

With this we hit the hardest and fastest problem with those wishing to make terrorism something that is fit only for the courts: it is an offense against the very nation state system which makes such courts possible. This is mankind at its basest form in which individuals and groups of them declare that there is no law over them save what they set for themselves, and then wage war on humanity. In past the piracy laws have dealt with the sub-species which plunders, but not entirely and not all the time. We actually have laws on the books against piracy, but we have NONE on 'predatory warfare'.

Yes, coming from the era of the Hague and Geneva conventions, after the Treaty of Paris outlawing privateers, it was thought that no one would do that! Indeed, piracy laws on the books were thought to cover the various species of 'predatory warfare' and yet, today, in this highly and extremely legalistic environment, we find that those exact, same laws do NOT do so. Instead there is this running around trying to make some brand, spanking new term of 'terrorism', which was USED by pirates to attack folks and appear horrific and horrible, but to call that same activity today, shorn of booty, rum and parrot, now has all sorts of folks going all colly-wobble. Apparently trying to define a tactic used in 'predatory warfare' is NOT addressing 'predatory warfare'.

Even more fun, since the US does NOT define privateering and piracy as the same thing, and cannot because of the US Constitution, we come to the glorious conclusion that all those lovely treaties on warfare, necessary to restrict and humanize it as best as can be done for Nations have ZERO applicability to those waging 'predatory warfare'. When sending soldiers out to fight such critters, and when they are captured and found to be 'illegal enemy combatants' you have just defined 'predatory warfare'. It is a crime, and indeed the HIGHEST CRIME, against the law of nations as it seeks to remove the entirety of the Nation State system from this planet and replace it with personal warfare waged by unaccountable warlords. These individuals see no need to follow any law or be held accountable to it, not *just* robbery... although a number of them still do *that* too. Nor *just* robbery by attack on the high seas, although that still goes on to this day off of the eastern coast of Africa, in the near Asiatic waters, and even, if reports be heard about Jamaat al Muslimeen and the such, in the Caribbean. Apparently the way to get money is no longer *just* on the high seas or even primarily from it. Far easier to be a 'terrorist' extract funds from people too afraid to attack you, set up lawless camps in the high mountain regions or in jungle areas that can't be easily controlled or to exploit Nations too weak to fend off such outlaws, and then with those funds to work your will upon the world at large.

And yet we dare not call it 'warfare' nor codify it because that would give 'legitimacy' to such actors! Yes, calling them 'predators' and sentencing them to, say, life imprisonment as is done for pirates, is just far too much for the sensitive stomachs of the legal profession and the international law folks. There is a large portion of the legal community that wants to make damned near everything 'civil law', but they are stuck because they want to define a stinking TACTIC as illegal.

And what does *that* look like? Well, it has 904 Sections to it. Paragraphs and sub-paragraphs galore.

And the Piracy Statutes? A grand total of: 10. And the verbiage is tart and straight to the point.

Do we see a problem here?

So while the military shouldn't be in the business of trying those committing illegitimate acts of war against the US, perhaps civil lawyers shouldn't be influencing the writing of the law for it either. In fact, at this point in time, looking at the Piracy and Terrorism laws, the brevity of the former is something to applaud and heartily and hang my head in shame at the over-lawyered, weasel worded, multi-level, beast that forms the 'anti-terrorism' law in the US. If you can't simply call it a form of predatory warfare under the law of nations and unwarranted by any nation, then why not just SAY SO? Just like is done in 18 USC 1651:
Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
Yeah. One sentence. Simple, short and to the point. How about this one, 18 USC 1653:
Sec. 1653. Aliens as pirates

Whoever, being a citizen or subject of any foreign state, is found and taken on the sea making war upon the United States, or cruising against the vessels and property thereof, or of the citizens of the same, contrary to the provisions of any treaty existing between the United States and the state of which the offender is a citizen or subject, when by such treaty such acts are declared to be piracy, is a pirate, and shall be imprisoned for life.
Model of brevity, while giving maximum flexibility. And making war at sea just against the citizens of the US is enough to do it, too... which is very, very strange as these are, by common agreement, 'outlaws', 'bandits' and waging illegitimate warfare... so, if they attack US citizens using warfare on LAND they are SAFE? Let me get this right: you can wage all the unaccountable war you want at sea and be a pirate, but go after citizens of the US via illegitimate warfare on land and we do NOTHING? Remember, piracy is a sub-set of 'predatory warfare' not the other way around. In theory a Nation should do something... but when the Nation is too weak or subverted or those doing this out of the reach of the law?

Thus you have it in the modern world: it is open season on citizens of all Nations by terrorists! Especially those 'terrorists' not of a Nation operating in a Nation too weak to counter them! They are not like pirates at all, right? Not pulling into a safe harbor to threaten the locals or anything, right? Don't mind the terrorist acts committed against the US in Iran, Beirut (three times!), Saudi Arabia (twice), Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen... that is just from two organizations. I mean waging war against the law of nations at sea is far, far different than waging war against the law of nations on land or in the air! And if those Nations can't bring themselves to call the organizations that sponsored and carried out such things as 'outlaws' or 'pirates', well we can't very well use our social values there, now can we? So you terrorists just keep on doing that and no one will really do much of anything to stop you, save put down hundreds of paragraphs of law that no one can read in which, if we can ever catch you, you have a good chance of skipping on it as it is just 'civil law' in support of 'civil administration' and not the Nation as a whole.

Much thanks to the lawyers and legislators and transnationalists of the modern world for signing the death warrant of civilization!

Too bad we can't call predatory warfare for what it is... just like piracy. Or re-examine the laws to see if what we truly were trying to get rid of was all forms of predatory warfare, of which piracy is a noxious sub-species that interbreeds with the main stock pretty often, or just the one type that keeps on cropping up. You are the folks that want to abandon the law of nations and go for some lovely international law that can't even describe predatory warfare. You've only had since the 1960's to do so, and failed mightily at it. Actually counter-productive as the organizations have become more plentiful, have more adherents and attack more brazenly than ever before.

So forgive me if I am not impressed with those who do want to utilize the law to protect those attacking it from the outside.

You know? Outlaws? Terrorists? Bandits? Brigands? Pirates? We are not placing them outside the law... they do that on their own.

hostis humani generis - enemy of mankind?

And the next time we have to go against those waging illegitimate war, can we send the lawyers in FIRST? They are so hot to help out and prosecute things, it is only right to see which is the worst predator of mankind: lawyers or those waging war illegitimately. Because I don't see us being made any safer by putting them in AFTER the hard work is done and then working very hard to LOSE it for us.

Now with that I am done ranting, it is time for the Supreme Court to weigh in, with the case of US v Wiltberger (1820), in which the following is given in the ruling section of the case:
Indeed it has already been, in effect, decided by this Court, that the statutes of Richard are not in force in the United States, as limitations of the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction granted in the constitution. By the judiciary act of 1789, c. 20. s. 9. seizures under laws of impost, navigation, and trade, on waters navigable from the sea by vessels of ten or more tons burthen, as well as seizures on the high seas, are expressly included in the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the District Courts. It is evident that Congress could not give the District Courts, acting as Courts of Admiralty, cognizance of any causes which were not 'of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,' within the true meaning of the constitution; because, it would deprive the parties of their constitutional right of trial by jury. The objection was, therefore, very early taken, that seizures in ports, and in such navigable waters, as above stated, were not causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, because those places were not, according to the common law interpretation in England of the statutes of Richard II. within the jurisdiction of the admiralty. But this Court has repeatedly overruled the objection, (La Vengeance, 3 Dall. 297. The Sally, 2 Cranch, 406. The Betsey and Charlotte, 4 Cranch, 443. The Samuel, Ante, vol. I. p. 9. The Octavia, lb. p. 20.) and thereby established the doctrine that the constitutional admiralty jurisdiction includes ports, arms, and creeks of the sea, as far as the tide ebbs and flows.

The learned reader will observe, that this position is not disturbed by the decision of this Court in the case in the text, (The U. S. v. Wiltberger,) or by that of the United States v. Bevans; (Ante, vol. III. p. 336. Bevans; (Ante, vol. III. p. 336. 387.) the only question in those cases being, not what was the constitutional authority of Congress, but how far it had been exercised; not what was the extent of the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction granted in the constitution, but how far it had been conferred by Congress upon any particular Court of the Union.
Now the ability to reach to pirates is, indeed, given here. This does, indeed allow sovereignty to a Nation of its waterways, but a foreign vessel that arrives is *still* on the high seas until it reaches fresh water or inland waterways. This is of particular interest to one attack, in particular that I went through in the previous post: that upon the USS Cole as it was re-fueling in Yemen on a 'good will visit' as an emissary of the United States. The argument is that the attack, taking place in Yemeni waters is under their jurisdiction. That is the case for the attack right up to the point it hits the USS Cole and damages it. Then the US, receiving an attack upon its vessel, while at sea, acting as an emissary above and beyond its normal protections, gives the US the ability to prosecute under the law of nations. That comes from three places:

1) Being in a saltwater environment which, while in Yemeni territory, is still viewed as the high seas by the US. We are there at invitation and protected via treaty and the Sovereign Nation of Yemen, and a vessel of the United States is considered under the laws of same for all activities on board the vessel and happening to it. This is three protections guaranteed by the law of nations: the vessel itself with its on-board law, the right of passage through Yemeni territory and not allowing an emissary to come to harm. Each of those was violated by the warlike attack. An attack upon the high seas that violates the law of nations is: piracy. One count for EACH violation as they are separate guarantees amongst Nations.

2) As being considered an extension of the United States, the USS Cole was attacked without warrant and the attack was disavowed by the Nation of Yemen. The attack was supported and accredited to and admitted by al Qaeda. Being no Nation it has no ability to legitimately wage war upon the US and that is an offense against the law of nations known as: predatory war.

3) By being no sovereign and basing an attack from sovereign waters upon a foreign vessel, al Qaeda violates the freedom of navigation and safety granted by Yemen of its near seas. This is a violation of Yemeni rights more than that of the US, and we suffer the effects of it in (1), but the Nation of Yemen suffers it directly and is a violation of the law of nations.

And as the Supreme Court, in particular, is very jealous of its rulings and precedents, and had already beaten down a number of statutes by Congress on this issue by 1820, it is very hard to believe that the US would sign over the sovereignty of its vessels to foreigners when still in a navigable environment not yet inland from the sea.

It appears that buried within the mass of law and decisions that there is some knowledge of this thing called 'law of nations' in the US and how to apply it. As I have pointed out before, on the military side between 1863 and 1898 the US Army did, indeed, summarily treat those acting like 'terrorists' as 'highway robbers or pirates'. And I place a whole lot more stock in Abraham Lincoln to authorize something that is legal and lawful for the armed forces than I do on the modern day crop of lawyers to make international law.

If 'Honest Abe' can find reason for the Army to throw those who wage illegitimate war into the category of 'pirate', then what is our problem?

23 August 2007

What is necessary to find terrorists to be Pirates?

The title asks the question and I am going to look and see if I can understand the law and the background enough to give answer. This is something, actually, which has meaningful underpinnings on how we view the world and its workings and will be heading into some places not often delved into. This is especially the case as the Civil Law of the United States of America is involved and it appears that no one is bothering to bring suit based on that law.

To start with it is always good to go to the beginning. The widest application of Piracy is held in the 18 USC 1651 and that is as good a place as any. That said my argument will be to the consideration of al Qaeda, as a whole, on the question of its being a Piratical organization. Thus we start with the Law as it stands:

Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
That is very succinct in terms of outlay and, perhaps, one of the simplest laws in the US Code. One would think this is pretty obvious on the high seas part, but al Qaeda has been involved with that area, also, so it is best to start there. And a good as place as any to start is the USS Cole bombing in 2000. Jamal Mohammed Al-Badawi was sentenced and convicted of this crime, along with his confederates in Yemen, but he is also a part of this larger organization known as al Qaeda. This attack was after a failed attack by this organization on the USS The Sullivans in Yemen, which failed due to their explosive laden boat sinking before it could get to the US warship. The attack itself, in Yemen, took place in the 'Near Seas' of a Foreign Nation, which would normally be an act of war if this was done by that Nation. Established law gives the US Admiralty Court jurisdiction on all US vessels on the 'High Seas' plus all US ships at sea, regardless of their position within or outside territorial waters of another Nation. By that the ship, itself, is an extension of US Sovereign territory. While Yemen may prosecute for the actions taken in their territorial waters, the Sovereignty of the US was attacked and, as Yemen has denounced such attacks and had established safe passage for the USS Cole, this was an unwarranted attack.

At this point the Law of Nations must be looked at, which is, itself, relatively well established, thus allowing older documents to serve for a foundation of what is and is not acceptable behavior in this realm. To do this I will be using the translated text of Monsieur De Vattel from the Joseph Chitty edition of 1883: The Law of Nations. In Book 2, Chapter VI, Of the Concern a Nation May Have in the Actions of Her Citizens, in paragraph 71 we come to this passage:
WE have seen in the preceding chapters what are the common duties of nations towards each other, — how they ought mutually to respect each other, and to abstain from all injury and all offence, — and how justice and equity ought to reign between them in their whole conduct. But hitherto we have only considered the actions of the body of the nation, of the state, of the sovereign. Private persons who are members of one nation, may offend and ill-treat the citizens of another, and may injure a foreign sovereign: — it remains for us to examine what share a state may have in the actions other citizens, and what are the rights and obligations of sovereigns in this respect.

Whoever offends the state, injures its rights, disturbs its tranquillity, or does it a prejudice in any manner whatsoever, declares himself its enemy, and exposes himself to be justly punished for it. Whoever uses a citizen ill, indirectly offends the state, which is bound to protect this citizen; and the sovereign of the latter should avenge his wrongs, punish the aggressor, and, if possible, oblige him to make full reparation; since otherwise the citizen would not obtain the great end of the civil association, which is, safety.
Bolding is mine throughout. In the case of the USS Cole bombing the justice of Yemen is not the same as giving amends to an attack by an unwarranted organization. Such acts, when a Sovereign Nation disavows same, falls upon those that have committed such actions and for this it is more than just the immediate actors, although justice is done to them, but those who are their confederates in this crime against the United States: al Qaeda. For it is that organization that sponsored and committed this act through those that did the actual work. That work could not be done wholly on their own and the arrangement to put them into that position for such actions was consciously and deliberately done by their organization.

A ship of a Nation which represents the Nation in physical being and given safe passage is due the same respect as an Ambassador who is also a representative of the Sovereign Nation. Further, as the USS Cole was invited to such passage it did, indeed, serve as a Public Emissary to Yemen. These things are not without consequence, as Vattel would point out in Book 4, Chapter VI, Of the Right of Embassy, or the Right of Sending and Receiving Public Ministers:
Such being the rights of nations, a sovereign who attempts to hinder another from sending and receiving public ministers, does him an injury, and offends against the law of nations. It is attacking a nation in one of her most valuable rights, and disputing her title to that which nature herself gives to every independent society: it is offering an insult to nations in general, and tearing asunder the ties by which they are united.
It is not beyond reason to call an attack upon such a Public sending from the good will of the People of the United States to Yemen as represented by the USS Cole and freely offered safe passage and harbor by the Nation of Yemen to be a violation of the law of nations. If such an offense done by a Sovereign it is also one when done by those not a Sovereign. And when disavowed by the Nation in which this occured it is a violation of the law of nations in any event: it is the action that is described, not the intent. al Qaeda by doing this action was attempting to 'tear asunder' the ties being formed by the agreement to travel and the actual travels of the USS Cole itself. In Book 3, Chapter III, Of Just Causes for War, Vattel would look at the general cause for a just war in paragraph 26:
The right of employing force, or making war, belongs to nations no farther than is necessary for their own defence, and for the maintenance of their rights (§ 3). Now, if any one attacks a nation, or violates her perfect rights, he does her an injury. Then, and not till then, that nation has a right to repel the aggressor, and reduce him to reason. Further, she has a right to prevent the intended injury, when she sees herself threatened with it (Book II. § 50). Let us then say in general, that the foundation, or cause of every just war is injury, either already done or threatened. The justificatory reasons for war show that an injury has been received, or so far threatened as to authorize a prevention of it by arms. It is evident, however, that here the question regards the principal in the war, and not those who join in it as auxiliaries. When, therefore, we would judge whether a war be just, we must consider whether he who undertakes it has in fact received an injury, or whether he be really threatened with one. And, in order to determine what is to be considered as an injury, we must be acquainted with a nation's rights, properly so called, — that is to say, her perfect rights. These are of various kinds, and very numerous, but may all be referred to the general heads of which we have already treated, and shall further treat in the course of this work. Whatever strikes at these rights is an injury, and a just cause of war.
Due note must be taken on the defensive character, that receiving an unjust attack is due and sufficient cause to go to war in, and of, itself. He would expand upon this in paragraph 36:
Defensive war is just when made against an unjust aggressor. This requires no proof. Self-defence against unjust violence is not only the right, but the duty of a nation, and one of her most sacred duties. But if the enemy who wages offensive war has justice on his side, we have no right to make forcible opposition; and the defensive war then becomes unjust: for that enemy only exerts his lawful right: — he took arms only to obtain justice which was refused to him; and it is an act of injustice to resist any one in the exertion of his right.
Defensive war is always just against an unjust aggressor. The question is: is al Qaeda an 'unjust aggressor'? To most this should be obvious, but to examine this it must go to the heart of the type of organization that al Qaeda actually *is*. Those that can actually declare war are these things known as 'sovereign powers'. It is quite clear that to make 'just war' one must be a 'sovereign power' of a Nation or representative of that power. Chapter I, paragraph 4 is quite clear on this:
As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety.
al Qaeda by being no Nation, having no territory and having none of the elements of being a 'sovereign power', as described earlier by Vittel, is not allowed to make war. There is no authorizing power for al Qaeda, not even their deity has granted them this power to make such war. Even with a claim of divinely granted right, it would still need to be contained in a sovereign power concept called a Nation. Without any linkage to being a sovereign power, the attack by al Qaeda cannot be considered to be just or legitimate.

In Chapter IV, paragraph 67 we can distinguish between lawful and unlawful war:
Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.
The finding in the tribunals of Guantanamo have deep and distinct meaning by naming individuals as being unlawful enemy combatants. So, too, is the attack upon the USS Cole unlawful and illegitimate. Here we see that attacks purely for their own accord, given to spoils and plunder to benefit those doing the attacking but with no sovereign power to back them are illegitimate forms of warfare. Indeed they have special names attached to them: bandit, buccaneer, and, generally, pirates.

By the law of nations as described by Vattel, such an attack by this organization directly to its own aggrandizement, to go after the sovereign territory and good embassy of the United States as allowed for by Yemen is an piratical attack in and of itself. This is expanded in paragraph 68:
In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.
This is predatory warfare conducted by an illegitimate actor called al Qaeda. Note that there is no consideration of 'civilized warfare' when dealing with those that wage predatory, illegitimate war. The US Congress has very kindly set a standard to be upheld when individuals are found to be waging illegitimate warfare from the high seas: life imprisonment.

What is interesting is that this is exactly how Abraham Lincoln authorized the US Army to deal with things in the Field Manual - 100, of 1863-81, last reprinted in 1898:
Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.
You have read that correctly. Those waging illegitimate war, who act as this thing we call 'terrorists' when captured by the US Army would summarily be treated as robbers or pirates. Those were immediate CIVIL PENALTIES handed out by the US Army, given SUMMARILY upon capture. Those waging illegitimate war in that era, who remain, to THIS DAY under all Treaties signed by the United States of America and ratified by the Senate, can be held to this exact same standard. The US has not signed nor ratified the 1977 Geneva Conventions on terrorism because we hold, quite rightly, that terrorism is NOT LEGITIMATE WARFARE.

It is Piracy.

I doubt, very much, if the Law of Nations has been revised so as to REMOVE the ability of sovereign powers to PROTECT its citizens against the depredations of those that would prey upon them. The United States has most assuredly NOT signed that right away as that would require a new Constitution. We the People hand the right to defend us from these Pirates, Buccaneers, Bandits and Outlaws to the President and to Congress to set the penalties involved. 'Terrorism' is an activity in support of Piracy, and there is one penalty given for Piracy.

Life imprisonment.

Unless someone can come forward showing and demonstrating that there is some *other* law of nations that the US operates under, then this would make a very, very interesting 'test case' the US Federal Courts to get al Qaeda branded as a Piratical operation and all those directly adhering to it as Pirates.

Might get the President off the dime on this too, come to think of it.

Any help on this is greatly appreciated.